MARTA laid out proposals for various projects to the handful of Atlanta residents who came to a public input meeting March 22 at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Buckhead.
The ideas focus on increasing coverage to underserved areas and reducing traffic congestion. The main projects proposed for the Buckhead area are a transit center where drivers could park buses at Moore’s Mill and frequent local bus service on Howell Mill Road. Frequent local bus service would have buses arriving every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 20 minutes during off-peak hours.
MARTA has been hosting listening sessions across the city of Atlanta to gauge what the public wants to see them do with the increased funding passed by residents last November.
The tax referendum that implemented an additional half-penny sales tax for 35 years will raise $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion for transit improvements in Atlanta. All the proposed projects would cost around $4 billion. MARTA is conducting public meetings to determine where the public thinks the funding should go.
The transit authority has one more session this week and then will begin a new round listening sessions.
The projects being considered range from station enhancements to new high capacity rail systems, like the Clifton Corridor light rail and I-20 West heavy rail systems.
Several bus service expansions and additions are also proposed, but one challenge is changing negative perceptions of bus service, Janide Sidifall, a MARTA project manager, said. Routes must be more closely synchronized with other routes and they must avoid traffic delays by using dedicated bus lanes.
MARTA is also working on a new app to make it easier to pay trip fare that Sidifall said could be released within the next year. The app will basically work like an electronic Breeze card, MARTA’s cards users load fare onto.
They are also working with ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft to provide discounts or vouchers to riders so they can get to bus stops or stations.
The presentation and survey given at listening sessions can be found at itsmarta.com/moremarta.